Home Affairs bureaucracy: Woman can’t get an ID or register her child’s birth

Tashreeqa Isaacs’s life is mired in red tape because of an error that happened 18 years ago.

Tashreeqa Isaacs from Rosedale in Kariega (Uitenhage), pictured with her child, has not been able to get an identity document or register her baby because she has the same name and date of birth as someone else. Picture: Thamsanqa Mbovane/GroundUp

Author: Thamsanqa Mbovane

  • Tashreeqa Isaacs, 18, has been unable to get an identity document and as a result can’t register her baby.

  • According to her mother, Isaacs was mistakenly registered as male and later discovered that there is a man with the same name and date of birth as her.

  • Home Affairs has promised to help Isaacs resolve the matter.

The Department of Home Affairs is investigating the case of 18-year-old Tashreeqa Isaacs from Rosedale in Kariega (Uitenhage) who has not been able to get an identity document or register her baby because she has the same name and date of birth as someone else.

Isaacs, who recently passed matric, says she and her mother have been battling to get the issue resolved for years now.

Her mother, Bernadine Swartbooi, says the mix-up happened when she went to register Isaacs at Home Affairs when she was ten days old.

Swaartbooi says the official at Home Affairs mistakenly documented her daughter as male.

“When I enquired, they then blamed it on me. They said that on the application form I had filled in male instead of female. Who is so dumb to register a female as a male?”

Swaarbooi says Isaacs has been unable to apply for a child support grant for her one-year-old son simply because she does not have an ID.

Isaacs wote her matric exams last year (she failed two subjects but is planning to rewrite them). She says the man who shares her name and date of birth also wrote his matric exams. Her matric certificate has all zeroes where her ID number should be. “My life was upside down already,” she says.

“The department could not give me an ID and now I can’t even open a bank account. I learnt about [the person with the same name] from my school.”

Eastern Cape Department of Home Affairs spokesperson Gcinile Mabulu says they are looking into the matter.

This article first appeared on GroundUp